"I'm about 5-10 and weigh about 160."
Do you know what your fastball velocity is?
"I'm really not sure. Coach Fowler said I was throwing in the upper 80s. It really depended on whether it was a good day or bad day, it could be in the mid-80s."
What other pitches other than a fastball do you throw?
"I have a very decent curveball. I came up with a knuckleball that is pretty good on fastball hitters."
According to your coach, you had a really good year this year after having a so-so year last year. What happened from your junior to senior season to cause the improvement?
"I got much more serious this year than I was last year because this was my final season."
How did you do record-wise this season?
"I lost count when we got to the playoffs. I think my record was something like 9-3 or 9-4. I struck out over 130 and pitched 70-something innings."
How did your team do during the playoffs?
"We got all the way to the North Half Finals and were beaten by Senatobia in the third game of the finals."
What honors have you earned?
"I was most valuable player in my district."
Aren't you going to be playing in a Mississippi All-Star game?
"Yes sir. I will be playing in the 1A-3A game. I think it is against the 4A-5A teams."
What colleges have contacted you?
"The only schools that have really contacted me are Northeast (MS) and Southwest Tennessee in Memphis. They are both junior colleges."
Your coach has also told me that Delta State and Mississippi State have contacted him about you.
"Yes sir, they have contacted him. Murray State has also contacted him. He said they were pretty interested. But they haven't contacted me."
Have you grown up a fan of any particular school?
"I grew up a fan of Ole Miss more than any other, but I would really like to go to Mississippi State. Both of my parents are fans of Mississippi State."
That does it, Drew. Thanks for talking with me.
Coach Fowler, I'm calling to find out a little about Drew Nanney, a left-hand pitcher on your team.
"He is a senior. He is about 5-10 and 165 pounds. He has good velocity and throws in the 86 range and has topped out at 88. He has excellent control this year. He has a lot of movement on his fastball. It moves away from a right-handed hitter just naturally. Last year he didn't. I think he matured this year. During the past year, he learned how to pitch. He has always had a good arm. He is out ace and I feel like he is the best pitcher in our division. He is also one of the best pitchers in the state. The key game where I really saw how good he had become was when we played Southaven High School. They were ranked number 2 in the state at that time. They have a left-hander, Brae Wright, who has signed with Ole Miss. He is phenomenal. He beat us 5-0 but he struck out 12 and Drew struck out 16 of them. Coach Rich from Southaven called me a few days afterwards and told me that he really liked him. I think his size is why schools haven't really recruited him that heavily. A lot of schools are just now finding out about him."
What other pitches does he throw?
"He has an excellent curveball and he throws a circle change."
What is a circle change?
"They call it a circle change because you make a circle out of your first finger and thumb. It is also called the OK change because you make the OK sign when you pitch. It is difficult to learn to throw. It is the same changeup that Glavine throws for the Braves. Drew just learned it this past year."
Do you think learning the new pitch was the reason for his improvement?
"Learning a new pitch has helped, but he has really learned how to change speeds not only with his fastball but with his curveball as well."
How long does he keep his top velocity during a game?
"He throws harder as the games progresses. He is a soccer player so he is in great shape. His legs are where he gets most of his strength."
What schools are showing interest in him?
"Coach Rock (of Mississippi State) has called me about him. The first time he called me was in early March. He called me twice about him. Southwest Tennessee Community College, which used to be Shelby State, has offered him. Northeast (MS) CC will offer. Murray State hasn't offered but they have shown interest. Ole Miss didn't come to see him pitch but they sent word through another coach that they were wanting to look at him."
What are the pro scouts saying about him?
"A Red Sox scout saw him pitch in a tournament this year and he told me 'your kid has major league potential as far as draft potential but his height is why he won't be drafted.' He said with a couple of years of college ball - it didn't matter whether it was juco of D-I - if he gets his speed up 3 mile per hour to 90 consistently, he will definitely be drafted, not just because he can throw hard but because he is left-handed."
Is he going to play in any All-Star games this summer?
"He was just added to the Diamond Crossroads All-Star Classic. It is the best of the best in the state (of Mississippi). They play it June 8th at Smith-Wills Stadium."
Thanks for the info, Coach Fowler.
"More than happy to help."
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports and Mississippi high school sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.